History of the Southern Levant
The Levant is the geographical region bordering the Mediterranean, roughly between Egypt and Anatolia (modern Turkey). The Southern Levant is roughly encompassed by Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and the southern part of Lebanon. Modern archaeologists and historians of the region refer to their field of study as Syro-Palestinian archaeology. The history of this region stems from its geographic location, providing a land bridge between, Egypt and Africa, to the south, and Syria and Asia to the north. The political instability exhibited in much of the history of the Southern Levant stems from this geopolitical fact.
- 1 Prehistoric period
- 2 Bronze Age (3300-1200 BCE)
- 3 Iron Age (1200–332 BCE)
- 4 Classical Period
- 5 Islamic Period
- 5.1 Arab Caliphate Period (638–1099)
- 5.2 Crusader Period (1099–1244)
- 5.3 Mamluk Period (1244–1517)
- 5.4 Ottoman Period (1517-1917)
- 6 Modern Period
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Sources
- 10 External links
Paleolithic Age (before 10,000 BCE)
Neanderthals are known to have lived in the Levant. An important site located in Syria is Tell Abu Hureyra, discovered By Andrew Moore in the 1970s. Thought to have been founded in the Epipaleolithic (11,000 BCE), Abu Hureyra is the oldest Pre-historic site with evidence of agriculture. It has been linked with the Natufian culture, a name derived from the site of 'Wadi en-Natuf' in the Mount Carmel hills of Israel, discovered by Dorothy Garrod in 1928.
Neolithic Age (10,000–4300 BCE)
Agriculture is first attested with the Pre-Pottery A and Pre-Pottery B cultures, which developed out of the earlier Epipaleolithic Natufian culture of the region. In the following period the Yarmukian (c. 8500–4300 BCE), Jericho IX (Lodian) and others developed out of the Munhata, culture, which seem to have developed from a fusion of the Harifian and Pre-Pottery B. The development of the later Ghassulian culture is identified with the Proto-Canaanite people.
Chalcolithic Age (4300–3300 BCE)
Bronze Age (3300-1200 BCE)
History began early in the Levant, as compared to numerous other parts of the world; some of the earliest civilizations were located nearby. The area's location at the center of routes linking three continents made it the meeting place for religious and cultural influences from Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor. It was also the natural battleground for the great powers of the region and subject to domination by adjacent empires.
There is cultural continuity within the local Semitic-speaking culture from the previous Chalcolithic Period, but now also intermingling with outside influences. The settlement patterns of this Period are still a matter of "guesswork". Some archaeologists suggest a group from the Arabian Peninsula (who trade with Mesopotamia) settled among the indigenous peoples who had been there since the original Semitic emigration. Some archaeologists suggest a group from Syria. Other archaeologists suggest the cultural developments are indigenous, and the outside influences result from trade. Of course, with trade routes come at least some immigration.
Iron Age (1200–332 BCE)
The Iron Age is usually divided into Iron Ages I and II, although sometimes the Persian period is called Iron Age III.
Iron Age I (1200-1000 BCE) saw major changes in the region. The Canaanite cities of the southern plain, roughly from Mount Carmel to the Egyptian border, were settled by the Sea Peoples, probably of Aegean background: their arrival seems to have been violent, but they quickly adopted Canaanite culture, including Canaanite language and religion. To the north of Mount Carmel the Canaanite cities continued without major disruption, developing into the Phoenician civilisation. This period also saw a rapid growth of population in the previously unsettled highland and Transjordan regions: the settlers were overwhelmingly Canaanite in culture, but may have included a more or less sizable proportion of local nomads.
In Iron Age II (1000-586 BCE) the Phoenician and Philistinian city-states were joined by new kingdoms emerging in the central highlands (Israel and Judah), the eastern region on the far side of the Jordan/Dead Sea (Ammon and Moab), and the south (Edom), all sharing roots in the earlier Canaanite civilisation. From the 8th century onwards these kingdoms and city-states came under increasing pressure from the far larger and more powerful Assyrian and then Babylonian empires, and by the time the conquests of Alexander the Great ushered in the Classical period Palestine (its Greek name) had been absorbed into the world-empire of Achaemenid Persia.
Hellenistic Period (333–63 BCE)
In the late 330s BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the region, beginning an important period of Hellenistic influence in the land. After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, his empire was partitioned, and the armies of Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire of Syria battled for control of various portions of the eastern Mediterranean, in the areas of southern Syria, Lebanon and Israel of today. The Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties called that region Coele-Syria and Phoenicia. Antiochus the Great of Syria gained the ultimate victory in a decisive battle at Banias in 201-202 BCE and by 198 BCE, all of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia lay under the rule of Antiochus.
The Persians had not interfered with the internal affairs of the various subject-peoples of the region, but the Greeks followed a policy of deliberate Hellenisation, encouraging, although not normally enforcing, Greek culture. Hellenisation took root first in the densely settled coastal and lowland areas, and only really began to impinge on more backward areas such as Judea in the early 2nd century. A nationalist reaction led to a Jewish uprising, which succeeded in reviving a Jewish Judean kingdom. The Hasmoneans gradually extended their authority over much of the region, forcibly converting the populations of Idumea (ancient Edom) and Galilee. By the middle of the 1st century BCE the Romans began to exert direct rule over the region, and by the close of that century the Jewish kingdom had been absorbed into the administrative structure of the empire.
Roman Period (63 BCE–330 CE)
Early Roman Period (63 BCE–70 CE)
Following the Roman conquest of Syria in 63 BCE, parts of Israel — from 37 to 4 BCE a client kingdom of the Roman Empire under Herod I, then the Iudaea Prefecture of Syria Province—revolted against Roman occupation (see Zealots and Jewish-Roman Wars). The Great Jewish Revolt began in 66 CE and resulted in the destruction of Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Late Roman Period I (70–135 CE)
The Great Jewish Revolt in 66–73 CE resulted in the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (70 CE) and the sacking of the entire city by the Roman army led by Titus Flavius and the estimated death toll of 250,000 up to 1,100,000 Jews (see Josephus Flavius).
Rabbi Yokhanan ben Zakai, a student of Hillel, fled during the siege of Jerusalem to negotiate with the Roman General Titus. Yokhanan obtained permission to reestablish a Sanhedrin in the coastal city of Iamnia (modern Yavne) (see also Council of Jamnia). He founded a school of Torah there that would eventually evolve, through the Mishna in around 200 CE, into Rabbinic Judaism.
Late Roman Period II (135–220 CE)
During this period, the Romans joined the province of Iudaea (comprising Samaria, Judea proper, and Idumea) with Galilee to form new province of Syria Palaestina
In 135 CE, the victory in Bar Kokhba's revolt by Hadrian resulted in 580,000 Jews killed (according to Cassius Dio) and destabilization of the region's Jewish population. The Romans renamed the new territory Syria Palaestina to complete the disassociation with Judaea. Jerusalem is re-established as the Roman military colony of Aelia Capitolina; a largely unsuccessful attempt is made to prevent Jews from living there. Many Jews left the country altogether for the Diaspora communities, and large numbers of prisoners of war are sold as slaves throughout the Empire.
The Romans destroyed the Jewish community of the Mother Church in Jerusalem, which had existed since the time of Jesus The line of Jewish bishops in Jerusalem, which is claimed to have started with Jesus's brother James the Righteous as its first bishop, ceased to exist, within the Empire. Hans Kung, in Islam :Past Present and Future, suggests that the Jewish Christians sought refuge in Arabia and he quotes with approval C. Clemen, T. Andrae and H.H. Schraeder, p. 342 "This produces the paradox of truly historic significance that while Jewish Christianity was swallowed up in the Christian church, it preserved itself in Islam, and some of its most powerful impulses extend down to the present day".
Late Roman Period III (220–330 CE)
The use of Hebrew as the spoken language gradually declines in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, becoming negligible approximately 300 CE but surviving as a literary language.
During the Byzantine Period, the Jewish population in the north of Israel remained large for several centuries, particularly in Eastern Galilee. Western Galilee later began to take on a more Christian character i.e. Syro-Arameans, Greeks and Romans from the 5th century onward. The coastal plain, central Judea and Southern Samaria had already become largely Pagan. Southern Judea remained mostly Jewish for some centuries and Northern Samaria remained Samaritan until the later stages the first period of Islamic imperial rule. Jewish tribes also settled as nomadic pastoralists in Arabia, particularly around Yathrib (later Medina), where they were to play an important role in the emergence of Islam.
Byzantine Period (330–638)
The Land of Palestine became part of the Eastern Roman Empire ("Byzantium") after the division of the Roman Empire into east and west (a fitful process that was not finalized until 395).
Around 390, the Byzantines redrew the borders of the Land of Palestine. The various Roman provinces (Syria Palaestina, Samaria, Galilee, and Peraea) were reorganized into three diocese of Palaestina. According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson, under Diocletian (284-305) the region was divided into Palaestina Prima which was Judea, Samaria, Idumea, Peraea and the coastal plain with Caesarea as capital, Palaestina Secunda which was Galilee, Decapolis, Golan with Beth-shean as capital, and Palaestina Tertia which was the Negev with Petra as capital.
In 351-352, the Jews launched another revolt, provoking heavy retribution.
The Nabateans roamed the Negev by the Roman Period, and by the Byzantine Period dominated the swath of sparsely populated deserts, from the Sinai to the Negev to the northwest coast of Arabia, the outlands that the Byzantines called the diocese of Palaestina Salutoris (meaning something like "near Palestine"). Its capital Petra was formally the capital of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. The Nabateans also inhabited the outland of Jordan and southern Syria, improperly called the diocese of Arabia because its capital Bostra was within the northern extremity of the Roman province of Arabia Petrae. The origin of the Nabateans remains obscure, but they were Aramaic speakers, and the term "Nabatean" was the Arabic name for an Aramean of Syria and Iraq. By the 3rd century during the Late Roman Period, the Nabateans stopped writing in Aramaic and began writing in Greek, and by the Byzantine Period they converted to Christianity.
The two dioceses of Palaestina proper also became increasingly Christianized. The Christian monk, Bar-Şawmā, in the 5th century, records that Jews and heathens formed the majority of the population. The Jews and Samaritans who ruled the country persecuted Christians. Some areas, like Gaza, were well known as pagan holdouts, and remained attached to the worship of Dagon and other deities as their ancestors had been for thousands of years.
Under Byzantine rule, the region became a center of Christianity, while retaining significant Jewish and Samaritan communities. The Samaritan Kingdom had shortly gained a level of independence under the leadership of Baba Rabba in late 4th century. However, they were again subdued by Byzantine forces. Samaritan attempts to gain independence from Byzantines peaked during the 5th and 6th centuries in a series of Samaritan Revolts. The outcome of Samaritan strife with Christian Byzantines, supported by Ghassanid Arabs, turned disastrous. After the Third Samaritan revolt in 529-531, led by Julianus ben Sabar, and the Fourth Revolt in 555. With Samaritan casualties went well beyond 100,000, cities and worship places destroyed, many enslaved and expelled, the Samaritan community dwindled to near extinction.
In 613, the Persian Sassanian Empire under Khosrau II invaded Levant, taking Antioch and later Caesaria. Jews under Benjamin of Tiberias assisted the conquering Persians, revolting against the Byzantine Empire under Heraclius and hoping of controlling Jerusalem autonomously. In 614, Persian-Jewish forces conquered Jerusalem, destroying most of the churches and expelling 37,000 Christians. The Jews of Jerusalem gained autonomy to some degree, but frustrated with its limitations and anticipating its loss offered to assist the Byzantines in return for amnesty for the revolt. In 617, the Persians forces withdrew from Palaestina Prima, giving control to the Christians. At that time the Persians betrayed the agreements with the Jews and expelled the Jewish population from Jerusalem, forbidding them to live within 3 miles (5 km) of it. In 625 (or 628), the Byzantinian army returned to the area, promising amnesty to Jews who had joined the Persians, and was greeted by Benjamin of Tiberias. In 629, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius marched into Jerusalem at the head of his army with the support of the Jewish population who had received amnesty. Nevertheless, upon entry, the Christian priests in Jerusalem convinced the emperor that God commanded him to kill Jews and therefore his amnesty was invalid, whereupon the Byzantines massacred the Jews in Jerusalem and Galilee putting thousands of Jewish refugees to flight from Palaestina to Egypt.
In 634, the Byzantine Empire lost control of the entire Mideast. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem along with the lands of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palaestina, and Egypt.
Arab Caliphate Period (638–1099)
Umayyad Period (638–750)
In 638, the conquering Muslim armies of the Caliphate (Islamic Empire) under Caliph (Emperor) Umar, the second of the initial four Rashideen Caliphs forced the Christians of Jerusalem to surrender. Islamic legend holds that Umar entered captured Jerusalem on foot.
Umar allowed seventy families from Tiberias in Galilee to move to Jerusalem to live.
In Arabic, the area approximating the Byzantine Diocese of Palaestina I in the south (roughly Judea, Philistia, and southern Jordan) was called Jund Filastin (meaning "the military district of Palestine", as a tax administrative area), and the Diocese of Palaestina II in the north (roughly Samaria, Galilee, Golan, and northern Jordan) Jund al-Urdunn.
After the Arabs conquered the area, waves of Bedouin garrisons began to settle there.
Period of Abbasids, Tulunids, Ikshidids, Fatimids, Seljuqs (750–1099)
The Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads in 750.
In the 10th century, the Fatimids, a self-proclaimed Shia caliphate, took control and appointed a Jewish governor. In the next century, Seljuq Turks invaded large portions of West Asia, including Asia Minor and Palestine.
Crusader Period (1099–1244)
Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099–1187)
The proximate cause of the Crusades, following 1095, by the Christian European powers was the desire to reconquer the birthplace of Christianity, which had been lost to the Islamic Arab invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 7th century. The Christian forces established the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in 1099. In 1187 the Kingdom of Jerusalem was overrun by Saladin who reconquered the city of Jerusalem. Although the Crusaders retained a rump state until 1291, known as the Kingdom of Acre, it was no longer a significant power in the region.
Ayyubid Period (1187–1244)
The Ayyubid Sultanate, founded by Saladin, controlled Jerusalem and some but not all of the region until 1229 when a peace treaty between the Egyptian Sultan Al-Kamil and Frederick II saw Jerusalem and some adjacent territory returned to the crusaders. These areas were returned to Ayyubid control after the peace treaty expired in 1239. The diplomatic efforts of Thibaut of Champagne lead to these areas being returned to the crusaders but in 1244 Khwarezmians with Egyptian aid sacked Jerusalem and returned it to the Ayyubid Sultanate. After the defeat of the Ayyubid Sultanate in 1250 this region became part of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.
Mamluk Period (1244–1517)
After the Mongols decimated Baghdad and Damascus in the mid-13th century, the center of Islamic power moved to Cairo, under the Egyptian slave warriors, the Mamluks. They destroyed all towns on the flat coastal plains in order to rid the land of the Crusader presence and make sure it never returned. The main exceptions were Jaffa, Gaza, Lydda and Ramle. The last major Crusader stronghold, Acre fell in 1291, at the Siege of Acre.
In the late 13th century, Palestine and Syria were the primary front for battles between the Egyptian Mamluks and the Mongol Empire. The pivotal battle was the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, when the Mamluks, after having brokered a cautious neutrality with the Crusaders (who regarded the Mongols as a greater threat), were able to advance northwards and achieve a decisive victory over the Mongols at Ain Jalut, near Galilee. The Mongols were, however, able to engage into some brief Mongol raids into Palestine in 1260 and 1300, reaching as far as Gaza.
Due to the many earthquakes, the religious extremism and the black plague that hit during this era, the population dwindled to around 200,000. It is during this period that the land began to have a Levantine Muslim majority and even in the traditional Jewish stronghold of Eastern Galilee, a new Jewish-Muslim culture began to develop.
Ottoman Period (1517-1917)
In 1516 the Ottoman Turks occupied Palestine. The country became part of the Ottoman Empire. Constantinople appointed local governors. Public works, including the city walls, were rebuilt in Jerusalem by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537. An area around Tiberias was given to Don Joseph Nasi for a Jewish enclave. Following the expulsions from Spain, the Jewish population of Palestine rose to around 25% (includes non-Ottoman citizens, excludes Bedouin) and regained its former stronghold of Eastern Galilee. That ended in 1660 when they were massacred at Safed and Jerusalem. During the reign of Dahar al Omar, Pasha of the Galilee, Jews from Ukraine began to resettle Tiberias.
Napoleon of France briefly waged war against the Ottoman Empire (allied then with Great Britain). His forces conquered and occupied cities in Palestine, but they were finally defeated and driven out by 1801. In 1799 Napoleon issued a proclamation to the Jews of Asia and Africa to help him conquer Jerusalem which was mostly to curry favour with Haim Farkhi the Jewish finance minister and adviser to the Pasha of Syria/Palestine. He was later assassinated and his brothers formed an army with Ottoman permission to conquer the Galilee. Turkish rule lasted until World War I.
Jewish immigration to Palestine, particularly to the "four sacred cities" (Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron) which already had significant Jewish communities, increased particularly towards the end of Ottoman rule; Jews of European origin lived mostly on charity while many Sephardic Jews found themselves a trade. Many Circassians and Bosnian Muslims were settled in the north of Palestine by the Ottomans in the early 19th century. In the 1830s Egypt conquered Palestine and many Egyptians soldiers settled there. In 1838 Palestine was given back to the Turks. However, with the advent of early Zionism, just prior to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Jews had become a small majority in the central Judea region. Many were not Ottoman citizens and were expelled to Egypt at the time that war was declared.
British Mandate (1917–1948)
The rise of Zionism, the national movement of the Jewish people started in Europe in the 19th century seeking to recreate a Jewish state in Palestine, and return the original homeland of the Jewish people. By 1920, the Jewish population of Palestine had reached 8% of the population. (Ottoman citizens only, including Bedouin and Transjordan)
In World War I, Turkey sided with Germany. As a result, it was embroiled in a conflict with Great Britain, leading to the British capture of Palestine in a series of battles led by General Allenby. Allenby dismounted from his horse when he entered captured Jerusalem as a mark of respect for the Holy City. He was greeted by the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic leaders of the city with great honor.
At the subsequent 1919 Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles, Turkey's loss of its Middle East empire was formalized. The British had in the interim made two agreements. In the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence there was an undertaking to form an Arab state in exchange for the Great Arab Revolt and in the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to "favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people while respecting the rights of existing non-Jewish communities". The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement of the same epoch declared the compatibility of Jewish and Arab nationalist aspirations.
McMahon's promises could have been seen by Arab nationalists as a pledge of immediate Arab independence, an undertaking violated by the region's subsequent partition into British and French League of Nations mandates under the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916 which became the real cornerstone of the geopolitics structuring the entire region. The Balfour Declaration, likewise, was seen by Jewish nationalists as the cornerstone of a future Jewish homeland on both sides of the Jordan River. Prior to the conference Emir Faisal, British ally and son of the king of the Hejaz, had agreed in the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement to support the immigration of Jews into Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, while creating a large Arab state based in Syria. When the conference did not produce that Arab state, and under pressure from Islamists, Faisal called instead for Palestine to become part of his new Arab Syrian kingdom.
In 1920, the Allied Supreme Council meeting at San Remo offered a Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain, but the borders and terms under which the mandate was to be held were not finalised until September 1922. Article 25 of the mandate specified that the eastern area (then known as Transjordan or Transjordania) did not have to be subject to all parts of the Mandate, notably the provisions regarding a Jewish national home. This was used by the British as one rationale to establish an Arab state, which it saw as at least partially fulfilling the undertakings in the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence. On 11 April 1921 the British passed administration of the eastern region to the Hashemite Arab dynasty from the Hejaz (now part of Saudi Arabia) as the Emirate of Transjordan and on 15 May 1923 recognized it as a state, thereby eliminating Jewish national aspirations on that part of Palestine.
In the early years of the Mandate, Jewish immigration to Palestine, inspired by the Zionist ideal of return to the ancient land of the Jews, was quite substantial. The Jewish population of Palestine of less than 8 percent in 1918 was given free rein to immigrate, buy land from absentee landlords, set up a shadow government, assemble a paramilitary organization and create the nucleus of a Jewish state under the protection of the British army which suppressed a major Palestinian uprising between 1936 and 1939.[ Justin McCarthy The population of Palestine, 1990]
Arab leaders, particularly the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini), strongly opposed Jewish immigration claiming that Jews threatened the Haram. The result was, in 1920, 1922 and 1929, the 1920 Palestine riots. In 1936, the British Peel Commission advised that the western part of Palestine be divided between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs then launched the Great Uprising against British rule in an effort to end the immigration.
In response to the Arab uprising, the Jewish community supported the British, employing its militia, the Haganah, in self-defense against Arab attacks. The Haganah adhered during the uprising to the policy of 'Havlaga' - fortification and abstention from taking revenge on Arabs by attacking innocent civilians. The other major Jewish paramilitary group, the Irgun, at times supported this policy and at other times pursued retaliation strikes against the Arabs. At the same time, the Irgun also commenced illegal - or clandestine - immigration operations.
By the time order was restored in March 1939, more than 5,000 Arabs, 400 Jews, and 200 Britons had been killed.
State of Israel (1948 to present)
Soon after World War II, the British government decided to leave Palestine. The United Nations attempted to solve the dispute by putting forward the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which divided the British Mandate of Palestine between the Arab and Jewish populations. On November 29, 1947, the Jewish Agency, including the Palestinian Jews, accepted the plan as it would help lead to the establishment of a new Zion, while the Arab states rejected it. On May 14, 1948, the Jewish population declared independence as the State of Israel. A 1948 Palestine War, called the War of Independence (Milhemet Ha'azmaut) by Israelis and the Catastrophe (Nakba) by Palestinians had begun. The armies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria declared war on the newly formed state of Israel and invaded, but failed to salvage more than a few pieces of Palestine. (For a more detailed account, see 1948 Arab-Israeli War). During the war an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled and were expelled by Jewish paramilitary units from the Israeli controlled areas. In reprisal and possibly also instigated by Israel a comparable number of Jews were expelled or fled from the Arab countries. Israel refused to allow the return of the refugees driven from their homes which were confiscated and given to immigrant Jews in the cities and frequently destroyed in Arab villages.
What remained of the territories allotted to the Arab state was annexed by Jordan (the West Bank) and by Egypt (the Gaza Strip) from 1948 to 1967. During this time, Jordan and Egypt did not normalize the living conditions for the Palestinian refugees, neither did Israel after 1967. All Jewish inhabitants were expelled from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip until the Israel occupation in 1967.
Following military threats by Egypt and Syria, including Egyptian president Nasser's demand of the UN to remove its peace-keeping troops from the Egyptian-Israeli border, in June 1967 Israeli forces attacked Egypt and Syria, and, after failing to persuade it to stay out of the conflict, Jordan, in what has come to be known as the Six-Day War. As a result of that war, the Israel Defense Forces conquered the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula bringing them under military rule. Israel also pushed Arab forces back from East Jerusalem, which Jews had not been permitted to visit during the prior Jordanian rule. East Jerusalem was allegedly annexed by Israel as part of its capital, though this action has not been recognized internationally. The United Nation's Security Council passed Resolution 242, promoting the "land for peace" formula, which called for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, in return for the end of all states of belligerency by the aforementioned Arab League nations. Since that time, Israel continued to build settlements over Palestinian land, demolishing homes and expelling families by force. Palestinians started to make their armed groups similar to the Haganah forces to attack these settlements. They continued longstanding demands for the destruction of Israel or made a new demand for self-determination in a separate independent Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip similar to but smaller than the original Partition area which Palestinians and the Arab League had rejected for statehood in 1947. In the course of 1973 Yom Kippur War, military forces of Egypt have crossed the Suez canal and Syria to regain the Golan heights. The attacking military forces of Syria were pushed back. President Sadat Anwar Sadat after cease fire started a peace talks with the US and Israel. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt as part of the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel in hopes of establishing a genuine peace.
Oslo Peace Accords, Intifada, Security Barrier, Road Map
After the First Intifada, attempts at the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were made at the Madrid Conference of 1991. As the process progressed, in 1993 the Israelis allowed Chairman and President of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yassir Arafat to return to the region.
The 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israel (the "Oslo Accords"), gave the Palestinians limited self-rule in some parts of the Disputed Territories through the Palestinian Authority however without any agreement to halt the settlement of Jews on confiscated Palestinian land. They were soon followed in 1994 by the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. To date, efforts to resolve the conflict have ended in deadlock, and the people of the region, Jews and Arabs, are engaged in a bloody conflict, called variously the "Arab-Israeli conflict" or "Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Twenty years of Military occupation and land confiscation ignited the 1987 to 1993 First Palestinian Intifada against permanent Israeli occupation. After the collapse of the Clinton orchestrated Peace Plan, Palestinian militant groups launched the second Al-Aqsa Intifada. The events were highlighted by Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel that killed many civilians, and by Israeli Security Forces full fledged invasions into civilian areas along with some targeted killings of Palestinian militant leaders and organizers. Israel began building a complex security barrier/ Apartheid Wall to separate Israel and its settlements on the West Bank from the Palestinians. The wall was largely built on Palestinian land effectively confiscating more land to Israel.
Also in 2002, the Road map for peace calling for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was proposed by a "quartet": the United States, European Union, Russia, and United Nations. U.S. President George W. Bush in a speech on June 24, 2002 called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. Bush was the first U.S. President to explicitly call for such a Palestinian state.
Following Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004, it withdrew all settlers and most of the military presence from the Gaza strip, but maintained control of the air space and coast. Israel also dismantled four settlements in northern West Bank in September 2005. Following Israel's withdrawal, economic strangulation, targeted killings and border incidents, Palestinian militia groups fired Qassam rockets into Israel and smuggled weapons and ammunition into Gaza from Egypt. After the kidnap of Israeli soldiers in June 2006, Israel launched a military operation and reentered some parts of the Gaza Strip. Amidst severe criticism, they built the Israeli West Bank barrier.
Following the January 2006 election of the Hamas government, Fatah resistance took the form of street battles that resulted in a victory for Hamas. Hamas took over the ministries of the (Fatah) Palestinian Authority and Gaza became a Hamas enclave outside PA control.
- History of Palestine
- History of ancient Israel and Judah
- History of Israel
- History of Zionism
- History of the Levant
- History of pottery in the Southern Levant
- Jordanian occupation of the West Bank
- Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
- Israeli occupied territories
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